6 get life in Subic drug bust
OLONGAPO CITY—A judge here on Friday meted out life imprisonment to six members of a drug-trafficking group who were caught with P2 billion worth of “shabu” in Subic, Zambales province, in 2013.
Judge Raymond Viray of the Regional Trial Court Branch 75 here found Albert Chin and Romeo Manalo guilty of selling shabu, and Joselito Escueta, Coronel Disierto, Dennis Domingo and Emmanuel Tobias guilty of possessing the illegal drug.
Viray also ordered the six members of the so-called Chin Drug Group, headed by Albert Chin, to pay a fine of P1 million.
The group’s operation in Subic was shut down after an undercover agent posing as a helper penetrated the group. The 434 kilograms of shabu, which the police seized from the group, were believed to have been smuggled from China through the Zambales coastline.
According to the Philippine National Police Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (PNP-AIDG), Chin was a high-roller in local casinos and had a major role in the transshipment or smuggling of illegal drugs into the country.
Citing intelligence reports, the PNP-AIDG said Chin was also the local point man of Chinese drug syndicates.
Lawyer Roger Evasco, counsel for Chin and Manalo, said he would appeal the court’s decision. “My clients are innocent and we have strong evidence to prove that,” Evasco told reporters here.
According to the PNP-AIDG, Chin maintained a group of skilled Filipino workers, such as seamen and warehouse and delivery men.
Chin also maintained a network of local and international drug traffickers, the PNP-AIDG said. “Reports from our foreign counterparts indicated that Chin was the boss of two Filipinos who were arrested in Lima, Peru, for carrying 16 kilos of cocaine,” the PNP-AIDG said.
According to the complaint filed by Department of Justice, the undercover agent met Chin on Aug. 3, 2013, and was sent on an errand to a house in Barangay Sto. Tomas in Subic on Aug. 9 to pick up a shipment of drugs.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.